Murihiku Marae


Waihōpai Runaka



Completion Date

June 2023

  • Architecture
  • Master Planning
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urban Design
“Titiro whakamuri ki anga whakamua” - Look back and reflect so you can move forward.

On the location of the original Marae, this 1442m2 redevelopment is a sustainable contribution to the community. Expanding the support services and providing a hub for educational initiatives within Southland .

The project involved the removal of multiple prefab buildings adjacent to the original wharenui, making way for a multi-purpose marae complex that offers additional functions and the ability to accommodate multiple services under one roof. The redevelopment was aimed to be a community hub and has a tohorā (whale) shape with educational spaces, offices, meeting rooms, dining area and housing for kaumata in the site.

Prior to starting the design process, wānanga were held with Waihōpai trustees to understand their values and aspirations for the project. Through a series of hui, the cultural narrative was distilled, drawing inspiration from Tohorā and the wakataukī “Titiro whakamuri ki anga whakamua” (Look back and reflect so you can move forward). This cultural narrative played a significant role in shaping the entire design, both physically and spiritually. While ultimately drove the orientation and location of the buildings, entry locations and spatial arrangement.

Sustainability was a key focus of the project, and a comprehensive sustainability framework was implemented in line with the concept to achieve triple net zero energy status. The project showcases cutting edge innovative design which uses energy-efficient practices with a renewable energy source, measurables to offset carbon, zero net water, reduction in waste and emissions whilst achieving the aspirations of the hapū.

Despite a tight design program to meet funding milestones, effective communication, trust, and the availability of stakeholders enabled important design decisions to be made, facilitating progress.
After about one year since the laying of the stone, the Murihiku Marae was reopened in June 2023 with a pōwhiri to celebrate such a milestone.